Jake Kaufman has easily become one of my favourite modern videogame composers. His work on the Wayforward games such as Shantae, Double Dragon Neon and Mighty Switch Force has earned him, in my opinion, a place among the greats such as the likes of Nobuo Uematsu, David Wise and Yoko Shimomura.
Kaufman’s latest album FX3: Remastered is a cleaned up version of his 2006 project FX3, a self described Chiptune metal concept album.
What I enjoy about FX3: Remastered is that it was one of the first chiptune albums that told a story without lyrics. The only semblance of story you get is off of Kaufman’s bandcamp page where the story is summed up in three sentences.
What makes this album special is that it is the second album to tell a story through music alone. Before you accuse me of disregarding albums such as The Wall, American Idiot or Pinball Wizard, what I mean that there have been few, if any concept albums in the style of FX3. It paved the way for other albums such as Ben Landis’ Adventures in Pixels, showcasing that you don’t need lyrics to tell a story.
As I said earlier, the story for FX3 is simple. It is about a young man who is trapped between two warring nations. He stumbles through a rift in time and discovers a terrible conspiracy that spans the generations. There he meets someone who promises to help him find a way home, and perhaps to open his heart to love once more. I am not going to call the story deep despite its simplicity because it is not. The story here simply sets up the music so you can imagine what is happening.
Due to the fact there is no lyrics to the story, the listener can visualize their own story. Each song on the list gives you a theme in which you follow and it is up to you to imagine what is happening. In a way it is reminiscent of the old Choose your own Adventure books. You choose how the story plays out. Does the hero find a way home or does he stay in the past to avert the chaos in the future. Does he find love or does his heart remain closed off to the world? The listener himself tells the story, even if he isn’t aware of it.
So how is FX3: Remastered? A fantastic album that many artists should strive to be like. There is an underlying beat to each of the songs which help bolsters the accompanying track. Is FX3: Remastered worth a pick up? Yes it is. Jake Kaufman is easily one of the best composers of this generation. He seems to have this innate ability to utilize different genres to their fullest potential, making unforgettable and catchy tunes.
This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.